Although Texans experienced together the sniper-attack of officers in Dallas in July at a Black Lives Matter protest, Texans’ opinions on the larger movement are still divided along partisan lines.
Texans and other Americans were shocked when five police officers were killed by a sniper, and seven were wounded (including one civilian) at a Black Lives Matter protest this summer, as reported by Breitbart Texas.
The most recent University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll shows that Republican voters have almost a 90 percent “unfavorable” opinion of the movement, while only 16 percent of Democrats feel the same, reports The Texas Tribune. Independents show a 72 percent unfavorable rating.
Moreover, 60 percent of Democrats rate the movement as “favorable” contrasted to five percent of Republicans, and 15 percent of Independents polled. Twenty-four percent of Democrats, 13 percent of Independents, and six percent of Republicans said they had “no opinion.”
As it relates to perceived discrimination of minorities, the poll was reported to show that there is a contrast among political party lines. Only 14 percent of Republicans said there was “a great deal” or “a lot” of discrimination against minorities, while four of five Democrats agreed with those statements, the Tribune reported. Fifty-four percent of Republicans said there is “a little” or “none at all” discrimination against minorities. Only six percent of Democrats shared this view. Independents polled showed that 38 percent think there is significant discrimination, and 37 percent were reported to say there is “a little” or “none at all” discrimination against minorities.
The University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll was conducted between October 14 and October 23. The margin of error reported is +/- 2.83 percentage points overall, and +/- 3.16 among likely voters. “Likely voters” were reported to be those who said they were certain to vote or have voted in “every” recent election. The poll was an internet survey of 1,200 registered voters.
On August 28, Texans remembered the one-year anniversary of the execution-style shooting of Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth. The Texas deputy was gunned down in cold blood by a man who snuck up behind him in the dark at a gas station. Police say there appears to be no other motivation for the shooting than he was wearing a uniform and a badge.
“It is one of the most disturbing videos I have seen in more than forty years of police work,” Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman told Breitbart Texas. “As Deputy Goforth walked out of the store, the man we now know as Shannon Miles walked up behind him and shot him in the head and back.” The deputy was shot fifteen times. “Looking back a year ago,” Sheriff Hickman added, “We saw a disturbing trend in anti-police sentiment. This has proven to be the case in this shooting and all across the country. No other motivation has been found for Goforth’s execution.”
Deputy Goforth was gunned down approximately six weeks after PVAMU graduate Sandra Bland committed suicide in the Waller County Jail. The police dashcam video of the traffic stop showed that the officer brandished a Taser and told her, “I’ll light you up.” An autopsy ruled she committed suicide with a plastic bag.
Goforth’s execution followed several protests in Waller County and at PVAMU where Black Lives Matter activists and members of the new Black Panther Party called for the killing of whites and white police officers. Members of the armed New Black Panther Party stood across from a line of Harris County Sheriff Mounted Patrol deputies at the Waller County jail. The group chanted “We will start creeping up on you in the darkness.” They also yelled “Off the pigs,” and “Oink oink, bang bang.”
Although it is presently unknown whether there is a correlation between these events, racial tensions in the area were very tense at the time. Deputy Goforth was executed just 31 miles from the Waller County jail. As reported by Breitbart Texas, Micah X. Johnson, the killer of the five Dallas police officers during a Black Lives Matter protest, had been a member of the Houston New Black Panther Party.
Breitbart Texas was present at an armed march carried out by the Houston New Black Panther Party in Waller County in the summer of 2015. Bob Price took photos and video of the armed marchers at that time. One of the members holding an AR-15 style rifle appears to be Micah Xavier Johnson, the sniper who executed and shot the officers in Dallas this summer.
Breitbart Texas was at the Waller County jail for protests on another occasion and reported when “Sunshine” told reporters and others present, that all white people should be killed. She also called white people and reporters, “terrorists.” Her orders – “go back into the cave where you came from.” When asked whether she really believed that, she responded, “You’re damn right I do! You think I am scared to say that to you?!”
Breitbart Texas also reported that “Sunshine” had a Texas-based radio show where she engaged in hate speech against both whites and police. On her program, “Sunshine’s F***ing Opinion Radio Show,” people called in and demanded that people take to the streets in gangs and lynch white people and kill cops. The same day, another black man, Shannon Miles allegedly walked up to the uniformed Deputy Darren Goforth and fired multiple rounds from a handgun into his back of his head.
The University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll reported that a third of Texas voters thought that community education would be helpful to teach Texans on how to interact with police, and 45 percent replied that it would be better to train officers.
On October 6th, Breitbart Texas reported that the leader of the largest law enforcement union in Texas, Charley Wilkison, the executive director of CLEAT (Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas) said, “It’s a very tough, unfriendly world when Politifact starts asking whether we have really lost the most officers, and when a state senator falsely claims Texas has lost more officers in car accidents than gun violence.” He added that this is the atmosphere in which peace officers now find themselves. Officer-community tensions have been in the forefront of public and political discussions in the nation after recent high-profile officer shootings, protests, and the violent targeting and execution of officers.